Organisations making progress on gender equality

Despite representing over 40% of employees in EBMOs, women are still underrepresented in managerial roles, new data shows.
By: | March 7, 2024
Topics: DE&I | Leadership | News

A growing number of national business organisations are making strides to improve gender equality within their ranks. However, challenges remain in breaking glass ceilings and fostering greater inclusion in decision-making processes.

The report, published by the International Labour Organization’s Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ILO-ACT/EMP) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), indicated that while women are well-represented among the staff of employer and business membership organisations (EBMOs), comprising 40% or more of employees in 74% of EBMOs, they remain underrepresented in managerial roles. Only 28% of EBMOs have achieved gender parity at the managerial level, with 40% to 60% of women managers, and only one in 10 EBMOs have no women managers at all.

On a positive note, the proportion of women on EMBO boards has increased, albeit from a low starting point. In 2017, 19% of EBMOs reported that women comprised at least 30% of board members, compared to 26% in 2023, marking a 7% increase. Additionally, the proportion of EBMOs with all-male boards declined from 11% to 5% over the same period.

Deborah France-Massin, Director of ACT/EMP, emphasised the urgency for faster action on gender equality, noting that at the current pace, it will take more than 63 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda’s goal of gender parity by 2030.

READ MORE: APAC leads the way in creating workplace gender diversity

Leadership by example is crucial, the report emphasised. EBMOs with female CEOs are 25% more likely to have over 40% women in managerial roles compared to those with male CEOs. Furthermore, nearly half (46%) of EBMOs acknowledge the positive business impact of gender equality, citing benefits like increased revenue, enhanced reputation, and improved talent acquisition and retention. However, almost half (49%) struggle to measure the tangible impact of their initiatives, hindering further progress.

“It’s crucial that EBMOs track the impact of their gender equality initiatives, both to make sure these initiatives are making a difference but also to improve them,” concluded Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary General of the IOE.